A few weeks ago, we talked about some famous women’s birthdays. In the interest of fairness, this week we’ll learn about some men’s March birthdays.
James Madison was our country’s fourth President and was born in 1751. We do have some books about him, but the most popular ones are actually about his wife. Two biographies, simply titled James Madison, maintain that he was an ineffective President, but that his pre- and post-war careers were successful. Three books about his wife, Mrs. James Madison: the Incomparable Dolley, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation, and Ladies of Liberty: The Women who shaped our Nation, are all more popular books, with better titles.
Albert Einstein was born in 1879. While some of us have no idea what his theories actually mean or why they are important, the books are interesting. Perhaps I should read Relativity: the Special and the General Theory. Who was Albert Einstein? is one of those small, children’s biographies with the big head cartoon on the front cover. Easy to read, this is a great series for fourth grade book reports and confused librarians. The Other Einstein is a fictionalized version of his life with his first wife Mileva. She really had a brilliant scientific brain in her own right, but alas, she was a woman in the Nineteenth Century.
Sid Fleischman, born in 1920, started out writing tall tales about a farmer named McBroom. McBroom ran a zoo with Seuss-type animals that a tornado dropped off in McBroom’s Zoo. In McBroom’s Ghost, it was so cold in winter that one’s words froze in the air and only defrosted in spring so that others could hear them; hence, Ghost. Later in his career, Fleischman actually wrote The Whipping Boy which earned the Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature. Did you know that princes are not allowed to be spanked? The prince had a whipping boy who got spanked if the prince was naughty. Any parent can see how that might backfire.
Louis Sachar, born in 1954, is just a youngster. Sideways Stories from Wayside School is my favorite. The contractor held the blueprints sideways when the school was built, so instead of flat on the ground, it is tall in the sky. Each chapter is a silly story of the teachers and students in that sideways school. Sachar’s most famous book is probably Holes, which was made into a pretty good movie. Juvenile delinquents are sent to the desert to be rehabilitated. However, this camp is run by a greedy pair who force the boys to dig deep holes daily, searching for a lost treasure.
Many other famous men were born in March, but these few will give you a variety of books to read as you celebrate March at Jamestown Public Library.